Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Old Passage Inn - Arlingham - Gloucestershire - England

Arlingham Gloucestershire GL2 7JR +44 (0) 1452 740547
Visit the Old Passage Inn website here

photograph picture views of the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
The Old Passage Inn is situated in a remote part of Gloucestershire on a bleak stretch of Britain's longest river, The Severn. You need a map to find this place, but it is worth the effort. Last year the restaurant was rewarded with a Best Seafood Pub in England Award. My mother, who grew up in the Gloucestershire countryside, had recently rediscovered this little gem and decided to take me and my grandmother there for lunch.

After being seated and ordering drinks, we were bought a delicious basket of fresh, warm, wholewheat, cheese & herb, olive and tomato bread rolls partnered by a yellow, pat of salty butter. Very good indeed.

photograph picture  of cornish oysters from fowey, salcombe and helford, at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
A long time had passed since I'd eaten some British oysters. I bypassed the one French option and settled for one each of the three Cornish oysters from the restaurant's seawater tanks. I did a mix and match, but the prices for three of a kind were as follows:
Fowey Pacific No 2 £4.40 for 3
Salcombe No 2 £4.80 for 3
Helford Native Oysters No 2 £7.70 for 3
All of the oysters were on the small side which is how I prefer them. Out of the three, the most expensive, the Helford, was my least favourite. It was briny and salty. It tasted a little too much of the sea.
The Salcombe Oysters were sweet and delicious. I wish I'd ordered just three of them. But the Foweys were almost as tasty, too, so all was not lost.
[In case you were wondering what Helford might actually look like, here is a picture of me, aged 2 hanging out in this Cornish seaside village.]

photograph picture of potted shrimp at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
Potted Shrimps served with toast and salad £ 5.50
My grandmother's choice was formed from tiny little nutmeg-scented shrimps set in a ramekin and held together with hardened butter.

photograph picture of squid balsalmic risotto at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
Risotto with deep fried squid rings with balsamic vinegar £8.70
My mother's appetizer was quite bizarre and not quite what we were expecting. The portion was overly large for an appetizer, the squid was spongy-textured, the rice was a little hard and the balsamic was pungent, unrefined and overpowering. The dish was too sweet with a lack of contrasting flavours.

photograph picture of cornish skate wing with capers at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
Roast Cornish Skate Wing on a bed of garlic mash with nut-brown butter, capers, parsley and lemon butter £15.90
Superb, soft, long white flakes of moist fish. A buttery sauce and fat, juicy capers, this dish was just perfect. The quality of the Skate shone through. It was a pleasure to consume.

photograph picture of cornish cod and chips the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
Beer Battered North Cornish Cod fillet with hand cut chips, lemon and tartare sauce £11.70
My grandmother declined to offer us any of her fish (wise woman), but she couldn't manage all of her chips so my mother and I dived in. They were better than any chip I've tasted in a long, long, time. The choice of potato (I didn't think to ask which one), was perfect, the size was large enough to result in a decent-sized mouthful, (none of this French Fries crap with your fish and chips, thank you very much). The outside was crispy enough and the inside was pillowy enough to elevate these pieces of fried potato, in my mind, to a level where they deserve to be worshipped.

photograph picture pan-fried dover sole the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
Pan-fried Dover Sole Meuniere with nut-brown butter, parsley and lemon juice £17.50
Like the skate, this more delicate fish was simply perfect.

photograph picture  of roast parsnips with golden syrup & mustard at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
I shocked my mother by ordering a side of parsnips. It wasn't a price issue, a side is included with each main course for a small £1.50 supplement. I didn't like parsnips as a child, but my tastes have matured and now I think they are fine. These ones, roasted with golden syrup and mustard were particularly moreish.

photograph picture of buttered new season curly Kale at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
A few seconds later my mother was even more shocked when I asked for some curly kale. I admit, I didn't order it with confidence. If it was true to say I didn't like parsnips as a child, then it would be even more true to say I hated kale with a vengeance. But had my mother gently stewed the kale in about half a pound of butter for me when I was a kid, I am sure it wouldn't have taken me quite so many years to come to the realization that Kale isn't bad after all!

photograph picture ofmy grandmother having a laugh at the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, England
I think my grandmother really enjoyed herself that day. I know I did.Thanks for the lunch, mum!

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The Old Passage Inn - Arlingham - Gloucestershire - England

10 Comments:

  • At 13/4/05 11:47, Anonymous del4yo said…

    I should remember not to look a t your blog before lunch.


    Now I'm starving...And I know I'll never find anything as appetizing as your pub in Redwood hill!

     
  • At 13/4/05 12:55, Blogger JourneyGirl said…

    Absolutely beautiful photos - I particularly liked the look of the skate. The potted shrimp in hardened butter, though, seemed more a throw-back to 1950s war-era cuisine. :) I could just imagine it being served at my Nana's table in rural Wisconsin. ;)

    Thanks so much for sharing, especially the last photo of your Nana. It was so nice to share in your family moment.

    ~S

     
  • At 13/4/05 15:31, Blogger Alicat said…

    What a cute grandmommie :) Gorgeous photos as always sam!

     
  • At 13/4/05 18:54, Blogger McAuliflower said…

    beautiful photos Sam! Yum...

    So, what do your family think of your odd habit of taking photos of your food before you eat ;)

    I admit, I'm still too self-conscious to take the restaurant photos I would like.

     
  • At 14/4/05 07:26, Blogger Sam said…

    Del - I would like to say I am sorry but I am not. If my pictures are making you hungry then I am doing a good job! Shame this pub is several hours across the other side of the world,eh?

    Journeygirl. Thanks. My grandmother just couldnt stop laughing. I have about 20 pics of her in various stages of hysterics. The more I took phots, the more she laughed. She is 81 by the way.

    Alicat - yes she is cute. My mum is cute too, but as she reads my blog I didnt dare post a picture of her.

    Mcauliflower. My mum likes it of course, because it is away of us communicating over such a long distance. They are my family so they are patient about my little odd streaks. I put myself in some kind oftourist mode in the UK so I took my big flashy camera to the restaurants. We were also eating at lunch, not dinner so the lighting was better. In SF I am very embarassed about taking pics so I dont always do it. When I do I use a much smaller less fancy camera and try to be subtle. At this stage all my close friends are used to it.

     
  • At 14/4/05 17:55, Blogger Alice said…

    Sam,

    Genetics predicts that you will be a very gorgeous 81 yr old too!

    These pictures are beautiful!

    Are you embarassed by others food shooting at your table?! I hope not...

     
  • At 14/4/05 19:29, Blogger Sam said…

    I hardly noticed you do it, Alice :)
    No - its fine when i am with a bunch of food bloggers like last night. I find it more difficult when i am with non food bloggers or if I am in a chichi place!

     
  • At 14/4/05 23:51, Anonymous janel said…

    Do you think it's really rude to take pictures of food at restaurants? I do it all the time and I have an obnoxiously big camera... I sometimes feel a little self conscious, but I tend to be in my own world when I am having a good meal....

    I have drawn some attention at times with questions of whether I am a food critic... heh, I wish.....

    -janel (an avid reader of your blog)

     
  • At 15/4/05 14:28, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi Janel
    I had an incident recently when a restaurant owner got very upset because I had take photos. They wrote me a really nasty email accusing me of all sorts of evil things which I was innocent of. Actually, the photos were beauties. What they really didn't like was that I'd written that I thought their food was sub-par.
    So now I am a little wary. I am not sure of the law. Taking th epics is one thing, but posting them on the web is another.
    I am not sure where I stand.

    I d like taking them, but I am worried in SF people might cotton on to my blogging hobby, so I try and keep it subtle.
    I removed the photo that was complained about just in case. I didn't need to change what I'd written, as I only speak the truth and i don't think oyu can get sued for speaking the truth...?

     
  • At 28/4/05 13:19, Anonymous joyceks42@yahoo.com said…

    Shrimp Breakfast in Jaro,Iloilo
    Everytime I have my vacation in Iloilo to visit my parents, sister and brother , my mother would buy a kilo of shrimp for breakfast with fried egg and rice. She would fry it in bits of garlic and salt and she will bring in the table and you can smell the aroma of the garlic as well as the almost burnt smell of shrimp, but once you opened it you can taste how delicious it is and once you open one shrimp to eat for sure you want to continuously eat it. Try it on your next breakfast and prove that what I told you is true.

     

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